The Aam Aadmi Party came out with its manifesto for the Lok Sabha election based on the central theme of full statehood, promising 85 per cent reservation in colleges and jobs for the people of the national capital. The manifesto, released by AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has been divided into two sections — one about what the party did without full statehood and what they will do in if it is granted.
The manifesto, featuring Kejriwal’s photograph on the front page, focused on 12 areas of education, health, women safety, police reforms, zero corruption, jobs, land and housing, protection from sealing, cleanliness, pollution, transport and Yamuna rejuvenation.
It also promises reservation in sectors such as education and government jobs and focuses on the demand of statehood for the national capital.
“We will secure 85 per cent of the seats of Delhi colleges for residents of the city. Sixty-five per cent jobs of the region similarly will be secured for locals,” Kejriwal said.
Apart from Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, senior party leader Gopal Rai and Sanjay Singh and all seven candidates were also present at the unveiling of the poll document for the Lok Sabha election. Voting will be held in a single phase on May 12 in Delhi.
Kejriwal said that the BJP in the 2014 parliamentary polls had promised statehood for Delhi but they did not fulfill it. He further alleged that the Delhi residents were being treated like “second class citizens”.
The manifesto also rejected the argument that Delhi cannot be granted full statehood as New Delhi is the national capital.
“A simple comparison of powers of the Delhi government and that of the local city governments of national capitals around the world makes it clear that India has the most regressive form of governance for its national capital,” the document said.
It has a chart that gives a comparison between Delhi and London, Berlin, Moscow, Mexico City, Ottawa and Washington City, and how all the other national capitals has power over local police, appointment and transfer of officials, land and city planning, housing, traffic and transport planning and control over local bodies while Delhi has none of it.
The manifesto also highlights the history of the struggle for full statehood.
It accused the BJP and the Congress of avoiding the question of full statehood for Delhi. Both the parties’ reason, the manifesto said, was that they do not have their government in Delhi.
The truth is that there have been opportunities when they had their governments both at the Centre and in Delhi, it said.
“Even today, the stance of the BJP and the Congress has not been favourable towards granting full statehood to Delhi,” the manifesto said.
Kejriwal said Delhi Police is overworked and posts are lying vacant in the force. “If Delhi gets statehood, we will fill those vacancies and the police will be accountable to the people, so that women will be protected,” he said.
“Any government formed other than Modi-Shah, any other government believing in secularism, whether it is a single party or a ‘mahagathbandan’, will have the support of the AAP,” the Delhi chief minister said.
“In return of that support, we would expect them to help us in our agenda of full statehood,” he said.
The AAP is fielding Pankaj Gupta from Chandni Chowk, Atishi from East Delhi, Gugan Singh from North West Delhi, Raghav Chadha from South Delhi, Dilip Pandey from North East Delhi, Balbir Singh Jakhar from West Delhi and Brajesh Goel from New Delhi.